If you have been involved in a car accident and suffered a serious injury, one of the many things that may go through your head is, “What were they thinking? Were they on their phone? Were they speeding? How reckless can a person be to cause such an egregious act?” Chances are that the accident was, indeed, completely avoidable, as most car collisions are, and that the driver of the other vehicle was taking risks with your and other road users’ lives that they should not have been taking. Afterall, human error accounts for 93 percent of all traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, it is unlikely that they will be cited with reckless driving. There is a big distinction between reckless and careless driving, with careless driving being a much lesser, and much more common, traffic violation.
Careless Driving in the State of Georgia
Forty percent of traffic accidents involve the use of a cell phone, according to Automotive Fleet. That report was done in 2010, which, in terms of technology, is out of date. Far more people talk and text on phones today than six years ago. Most states, including Georgia, have banned texting while driving. However, the fine is only $150 and one point on the person’s driver’s license, which accounts for little when compared to just how dangerous texting while driving is. Talking on the phone while driving is incredibly dangerous as well due to the distractions it presents. Yet despite the seriousness of both these actions, if a driver is texting while driving and causes serious bodily harm to another, they will almost certainly be cited with careless driving, not reckless. Other types of careless driving are speeding (to a certain degree), failure to obey traffic signs, failing to yield, swerving, and driving while drowsy.
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Reckless Driving in the State of Georgia
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor, and carries a far heavier punishment than careless driving (four points on the driver’s license, up to one year in prison, and up to a $1,000 fine). The definition of reckless driving is left somewhat vague, which allows the legal system some area of flexibility. As an example, there is no speed at which a citation transforms from careless to reckless. It may be up to the discretion of the officer at the scene or the prosecuting (district attorney). Reckless driving is defined as operating a vehicle that unreasonably interferes with other users of the road or puts them in unreasonable danger. Given that texting while driving increases the driver’s chances of crashing by six times, it is surprising that texting while driving usually does not fall under reckless driving. A few examples of reckless driving would be drunk driving, running stop lights and speeding, and doing donuts in the middle of the road.
If you have been injured in a car accident by a careless or reckless driver, you have the right and the opportunity to make them pay for the damages they caused you. Contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. You can reach us at 770-792-1000 for a free consultation.